I had my first penis in vagina sex when I was 16 with a young man, who was also 16, called Michael. Yes, I seem to have ended up right back where I started name wise with men. It was a fairly uneventful experience and I certainly came away from it wondering what all the fuss was about. Was that really IT? Despite not having an orgasm, and those would elude me for quite a few years to come, it had been nice, not exactly earth shattering but nice but then he was a nice young man and made me feel special. He was gentle, polite and caring and despite the earth not moving I was delighted to have shed myself of virginity and was determined to discover what more there was to experience when it came to sex and my body. I am glad it was Michael and not some of the other men I would encounter later, he was like me, young, inexperienced and nervous but that meant that I never felt like I had been used (in a bad way) and over the years as I have looked back on that first time it is always with a gentle fondness for two young people starting out on their sexual journeys. We went out separate ways soon afterwards. We just seemed a little awkward around one another and although he tried to convince me otherwise when I said I wanted to stop going out, when I stuck to my gun he bought me a bunch of flowers, left them on my doorstep and I never heard from him again. In my late 30’s I did make a half-hearted attempt to look for him on Facebook but quickly gave up on it when my search revealed rather a significant amount of men in the UK with the same name and anyway, why risk tarnishing what is actually a rather sweet memory with the baggage of adulthood, age, and, well who knows what a person might have turned into.
Of course that was the first PIV (penis in vagina) sex and he was also the first person to ever finger me, but the first object to penetrate me would have been, like so many teen girls I am sure, the handle of my hairbrush! Of course there have been other firsts: First Blow Job; I was 17, he ‘forgot’ the condoms and got me to suck him off instead. I didn’t enjoy it at all and it put me off for years. Luckily I have since recovered from that and sucking cock is one of my favourite sex things to do. First girl on girl experience; I was in my late 30’s, she was way more experienced with women than I was but she gave me thorough and absolutely orgasmic introduction to girl sex that I will never forget. First time someone went down on me; I was 17, he had read about it in a woman’s magazine and tried it out on me. He was very a very attentive and passionate lover and he also taught me how to play pool. I have very fond memories of this young man. First anal sex; another experience that happened in my late 30’s. I wanted it to be someone who would be gentle and patient and understanding if it didn’t work out. He was all those things and more and it worked out really rather fucking perfectly. First Orgasm; mid twenties and my first vibrator finally unlocked the secrets of my orgasm to me and I have been happily perfecting them ever since. I could of course go on, there are a myriad of different firsts relating to my discovery of kink but I think you get the picture
My real reason for writing about them though is to highlight how we talk about those experiences in a very different way from our virginity. Virginity, or the concept of it at least, is something that we either lose or take and it is language that I find is loaded with value judgements. ‘I lost my virginity’ implies that something about me was reduced, I lost a status; virginity. It is language rooted in an old-fashioned ideal that virginity is something of value, something that makes you purer, better, more valuable even and of course if you lost it then that means someone took it from you. There is almost a non consensual feel to the statement; ‘I took her virginity.’ as if you stripped her of something of value, removing her of this special status. Again, it is strongly linked to the out-dated notion that virginity was something to be prized. (I have written ‘her’ intentionally because this is nearly always a value judgement placed against women)
Virginity is nearly always about heterosexual sex too. How often do we refer to any other sexual first in terms of virginity and yet just because you have not had penis in vagina sex does not mean that you are not having a happy healthy sex life. I think it is time to stop talking about virginity in terms of a milestone especially when it comes to young women. So often their sexually is talked about in terms of relationships with men, magazines for teen girls and young women are full of articles about getting a good boyfriend, giving a good blow job, contraception but where is the dialogue about female masturbation? Women’s sexual satisfaction is still talked about in terms of a partner never in terms on her own body. We don’t talk to young girls and women about masturbation apart from to maybe tell them it is fine to do, we need to be teaching our young women that they do not require a man to have a fulfilling sexual experience, that they can and should be exploring their own bodies and learning how they work, having wonderful pleasurable valued experiences in the process. Virginity is not something to be got rid of, sex with someone else is something to experience for the first time. Young women and to a lesser extent young men, need to be taught that you do not require a partner to have a valued sexual experience and that virginity is a concept created by a Christian church in an attempt to control women and as a reflection of their worth as breeders, not autonomous people with their own desires.
No one takes you virginity, you don’t lose it to another person what you do (hopefully) is you share a first with someone. All those years ago, Michael didn’t take my virginity, nor I his, nothing was taken from either of us. He is no more walking around with my virginity badge than I am with his, instead we shared something with one another for the first time, neither of us lost anything quite the opposite in fact we gained, experience, knowledge, intimacy and for me it was just one of the milestones, albeit one that was significant, of a lifelong exploration of my sexuality.
*EDIT I just want to point out that clearly some people do experience having their virginity taken from them in a non-consensual manner, sometimes even when they are still too young to understand what is happening to them. This is absolutely NOT OK and is not the type of first sexual experience I am referring to.